Kilifi County

Attractions in Kilifi County

7. Kikambala Beach

Travellers interest in the North Coast Region is on the five principal beaches of Nyali, Kenyatta, Bamburi, Shanzu, and the surprisingly little-known Kikambala Beach. Picking up from the busy Shanzu Beach in Mombasa, the 11 kms stretch of reef protected beach, which is the prime beach between Mtwapa and Vipingo Creek, is a quieter beach. One of its biggest drawbacks is that it lacks a clear line of communication, with its easiest access being a dusty 3 kms all-weather road. By the same token, Kikambala Beach is less developed and is more popular as a public beach. It is served by a few middle-budget resorts like the Sun and Sand Resort, Sultan Palace Beach Resort, North Coast Resort, Royal Reserve Safari Beach, Ocean Blue Apartments, Xanadu House and Kelliana Resort. Kikambala Beach is located 18 kms from Mombasa City and 3 kms from Mtwapa township.

8. Vipingo Mosque Ruins

The Vipingo mosque is located on the beach about 14 kms north of Mtwapa and 3 kms southeast of Kijepwa Police Station. The qibla and west side of the north wall stand, and some of the western walls may be traced, but the eastern side of the mosque has been eroded by the sea. There’s little evidence that remains of what was possibly a wall. The roofing of the mosque supports a more narrow musalla, and to the west of the scar the top of the wall falls with a sharp pitch. This pitch continues down to the north arched doorway of the western room, and probably indicates the roof was of makuti. The wall height of the western room appears to have been no higher than the spring line of the archway; the area thus probably functioned as an open verandah. The mihrab is framed in a plain architrave, with plain jambs below offset capitals of two narrow members.

Sites along Lower Coast of Kilifi. Image Courtesy of Thomas Wilson
Sites along Lower Coast of Kilifi. Image Courtesy of Thomas Wilson

9. Kinuni Ruins

Kinuni is a small site of one mosque and a group of tombs located on a beautiful beach just north of a coral outcrop at the end of a well-kept access road in the Kuruwitu Conservancy. Portions of the site were excavated and reported on by James Kirkman in 1975. Only the western anteroom of the mosque stands, the northern part to full height. The surviving northwest doorway of the musalla is a simple archway with edges of coral. The western doorways of the anteroom were squared. There might have been a western verandah. The mihrab and the eastern areas of the mosque are completely destroyed. Of the tombs at Kinuni labelled A to E by Kirkman, ‘A’ is the largest of the tombs over 17 metres in area.

10. Kuruwitu Conservancy

The 30-hectares Kuruwitu Conservancy established in 2005 was the first locally managed marine reserve along the Coast of Kenya. Kuruwitu Conservancy is a ‘working model’ for many community-based initiatives that aim to conserve and preserve these delicate marine ecosystems.  Among the success stories here are Kuruwitu Turtle Alive Project and their unique Marine Research Project. Guests to Kuruwitu may also be take part in deep-sea fishing using knowledgeable local guides, sail traditional dhows or volunteer in projects. Kuruwitu Conservancy is found 24 kms from Mombasa City (at Shariani) off the Mombasa-Malindi Road.

Spatial Location of Kuruwitu Community Marine Conservancy in Kilifi County
Spatial Location of Kuruwitu Community Marine Conservancy

11. Neem Tree House

Set up on a beautifully-appointed edge of a cliff at the northern end of Kuruwitu Marine Conservancy, the cozy and private Neem Tree House is a snug 3-rooms retreat surrounded by well groomed mature gardens. Its delightful infinity pool overlooks the Indian Ocean. This is an idyllic family-run retreat, in a dreamlike location, affording it seclusion and tranquility. It has direct access to the beach and to the Kuruwitu Marine Conservancy too.  Neem Tree House is also within easy reach of Mtwapa and Kilifi. It is found just 36 kms north of Mombasa City.

Poolside at Neem Tree House near Kuruwitu. Image Courtesy of Airbnb 
Poolside at Neem Tree House near Kuruwitu. Image Courtesy of Airbnb 

12. Vipingo Ridge

The upmarket leisure and residential Vipingo Ridge Estate set up on 2500 acres of picturesque hinterlands has for a pièce de résistance the 19 Hole Baobab Golf Course ranked among the “Top 100 golf courses around the world” – CNN and among “Africa’s 10 leading golf course” – Business Daily.  This top-rated 72 par course, designed by golf legend David Jones, is one of two golf courses in Kilifi County.  Their opulent Clubhouse is the central meeting point at Vipingo Ridge. Among its other highlights include: Vipingo Beach Club, Vipingo Guest House, and the Kuruwitu Conservancy.  Vipingo Ridge is found 30 kms from Mombasa.

Map of the North Coast of Kenya.  All Rights Reserved to Expert Africa
Map of the North Coast of Kenya. All Rights Reserved to Expert Africa

13. Kilifi Sisal Plantations

For many decades now the 48 kms stretch of road between Vipingo and Kilifi has been known with motorists for its acre upon acre of sisal farms. Although the area between Vipingo and Takaugu is slowly changing, thanks to modern residential estates, commercial and industrial developments, the stretch from Takaungu to Kilifi Bridge still retains its old world charm of neat as a new pin unbroken rows and columns of the nondescript, cactus-like plant interspersed by giant baobabs. Traditionally harvested to make twine and ropes, the uses of sisal have expanded, and the versatile fibers are being integrated into textiles, used in construction materials and replacing fiberglass in the auto industry. The transformation of Vipingo started after Centum, through Vipingo Development, bought 10,254 acres of land for redevelopment into modern residential estates of apartments, maisonettes and gated estates, up-to-date leisure and shopping centres. Already, the construction of a 10,000 square feet shopping mall, a food processing factory, warehouses, and a water desalination plant are in progress.

Rea Vipingo operate the Vipingo Sisal Estate, 30 kms north of Mombasa, with an output capacity of 4,500 tonnes. They also own the Dwa Estate situated at Kibwezi some 200 kms southeast of Nairobi with a land area of 8,990 hectares and an annual fibre production of about 7,000 tonnes. North of Takaungu to Kilifi lies the Kilifi Plantations which grows sisal alongside dairy farming and agronomy. For over 40 years it was a monocrop sisal farm before incorporating dairy farming. Today, a 2500 hectare working dairy farm and sisal plantation, it is one of the recognizable and greenest spaces in Kilifi and home to an upwardly mobile community of 300 – 400 farm employees, a further 100 households, 7 schools and countless businesses in the vicinity. There are a number of tracks and pathways criss crossing the plantations which are great to walk, run or even bike. Mbuyuni on Kilifi Plantation is a small secure compound of four classic designed cottages. Each contemporary Cape Dutch style cottage sits on a half acre close to Indian Ocean, Takaungu Creek and Kivukoni International School.